Hot foot it to the UWS podiatry clinic to save your cracked heels

Date: 27/03/2002

If Sydney's long, hot summer has left you with cracked and painful heels, don't despair because the University of Western Sydney's podiatry clinic at Campbelltown can help.

Podiatry honours student Sally Smillie is looking for 80 volunteers to participate in a research project to find better treatments for this very common problem.

"Thickened, dry and cracked heels affect many people in the community, particularly during the summer months," says Ms Smillie.

"As the skin loses moisture its elastic properties deteriorate, and under the stress of walking and body weight, the skin becomes thickened and cracks form, known as heel fissures.

"They are unsightly, painful and may become infected. Many sufferers endure significant discomfort and feel self-conscious about the appearance of their heels."

According to Ms Smillie, little is known about how effective treatments are in reducing, eliminating and preventing these problems.

"Moisturisers are commonly prescribed for cracked heels, but many commonly-used moisturisers are not strong enough for the very dry skin around the heel and cannot penetrate deeply enough to be effective," she says.

"This study will compare the effectiveness of two commercially available creams used to restore moisture and elasticity to the skin of the heels and prevent painful cracks. Ultimately it will help podiatrists treating these problems determine the most effective treatments."

Participants in the research will receive four free appointments and four free weeks of treatment at the University of Western Sydney's Podiatry Clinic at Campbelltown.

To be eligible to participate, you must be over 18 and cannot use any other form of treatment for your heels during the course of the trial. At each visit participants will need to complete a short questionnaire and have their feet assessed.

If you would like to participate in this study, please contact Sally Smillie by leaving a message on (02) 4620 3226.

For more information or requests for interviews:

Amanda Whibley
Media Officer
Phone: 9678 7472
Mobile: 0418 438 399